Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
User avatar
spanick
roman
roman
Posts: 1228
Joined: 11 May 2017 01:47
Location: California

Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by spanick »

The last speedlang event was all the way back in April 2018. I really enjoyed that, so I figured now is as good a time as any other for another speedlang.

As a reminder, a speedlang is a conlang which is created within a predetermined amount of time and (at least as has become the custom here) which means predetermined requirements for the grammar, phonology, etc.

I’m setting the date for this speedlang event for 17 January through 19 January.

I’ll post the requirements by midnight (PST), Friday 17th. I have several ideas already. If you have suggestions, please PM to me.

You can check out past speedlang events here:
i. ‪http://www.cbbforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5222‬
ii. ‪http://cbbforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5485‬
iii. ‪http://cbbforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5737‬
iv. ‪viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6032&hilit=speedlang#p251198‬
v. ‪viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6079&hilit=speedlang‬
vi. ‪viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6169&hilit=speedlang‬
vii. ‪viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6346&hilit=speedlang‬
viii. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6654&sid=c1e1758bce ... 91bdfa0dfc

Phonological Restraints
Spoiler:
1. Your language must not use the five vowel system of /i e a o u/. (NB: It may use any of those vowels, just not only those five)
2a. Your language's phonological inventory must include a gap.
2b. Your language's phonological inventory must include a typologically rare phoneme.
3. Your phonotactics must allow for consonant clusters and closed syllables.
4. Phonological changes (i.e. ablaut, consonant mutation, etc.) must be included and be grammatical.
Morpho-Syntax Restraints
Spoiler:
5. Your language should avoid SVO and SOV word orders.
6. Your language should not be agglutinative.
7. Your language must incorporate some form of grammatical gender.
8. Your language must distinguish between alienable and inalienable possession.
9. Lexical verbs may not be directly marked for grammatical tense.
10. Reduplication should be an evident historical, but no longer productive, system.
Have your submissions in by midnight (0000) PST.
Last edited by spanick on 17 Jan 2020 06:03, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Creyeditor
MVP
MVP
Posts: 3982
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 19:32

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by Creyeditor »

I guess I'm in, sounds fun [:)]
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]
User avatar
Dormouse559
moderator
moderator
Posts: 2692
Joined: 10 Nov 2012 20:52
Location: California

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by Dormouse559 »

I'll join in. Haven't participated before, so we'll see how it goes.
User avatar
VaptuantaDoi
sinic
sinic
Posts: 254
Joined: 18 Nov 2019 07:35

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

I'd also like to participate.
User avatar
Sequor
sinic
sinic
Posts: 281
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by Sequor »

I'd like to participate, but I'll just warn you that I'm thinking of doing something weird and non-naturalistic (while following the constraints you specify, of course).
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.
User avatar
spanick
roman
roman
Posts: 1228
Joined: 11 May 2017 01:47
Location: California

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by spanick »

Ser wrote: 14 Jan 2020 04:02 I'd like to participate, but I'll just warn you that I'm thinking of doing something weird and non-naturalistic (while following the constraints you specify, of course).
Sounds cool, should be interesting!
GoshDiggityDangit
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 171
Joined: 18 Dec 2018 21:27
Location: Misawa AFB, Aomori, Japan
Contact:

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by GoshDiggityDangit »

Sounds fun! I'm in.
Disregard anything said above; I know nothing.
Conworkshop: https://conworkshop.com/view_profile.php?m=S2821536908
User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1594
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by gestaltist »

I love speedlangs so I'll participate if I can find the time.

If I may make a suggestion: please try to go beyond phonology in the constraints. Some speedlangs focused too much on that, and I find ideas about syntax, pragmatics, and morphology a lot more inspiring than "your language has to have at most 4 vowels".
Jampot911
hieroglyphic
hieroglyphic
Posts: 32
Joined: 25 Dec 2016 18:13
Location: Elgin, Scotland

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by Jampot911 »

Yeah, sounds great but I'll see if I have time to participate! [:D]
What can I say? I like making stuff up.

Lofdǣdum sceal in mǣgþa gehƿǣre man geþeon.
User avatar
spanick
roman
roman
Posts: 1228
Joined: 11 May 2017 01:47
Location: California

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by spanick »

gestaltist wrote: 15 Jan 2020 13:03 I love speedlangs so I'll participate if I can find the time.

If I may make a suggestion: please try to go beyond phonology in the constraints. Some speedlangs focused too much on that, and I find ideas about syntax, pragmatics, and morphology a lot more inspiring than "your language has to have at most 4 vowels".
There are 10 restraints. Only three restraints are purely phonological and one is a piece of grammatical phonology. The remaining six are all morphosyntactic.
User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1594
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by gestaltist »

spanick wrote: 16 Jan 2020 01:01
gestaltist wrote: 15 Jan 2020 13:03 I love speedlangs so I'll participate if I can find the time.

If I may make a suggestion: please try to go beyond phonology in the constraints. Some speedlangs focused too much on that, and I find ideas about syntax, pragmatics, and morphology a lot more inspiring than "your language has to have at most 4 vowels".
There are 10 restraints. Only three restraints are purely phonological and one is a piece of grammatical phonology. The remaining six are all morphosyntactic.
Lovely. You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.
brblues
sinic
sinic
Posts: 221
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 15:34

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by brblues »

I want to participate, but might have to drop out if some unexpected work comes my way.
User avatar
spanick
roman
roman
Posts: 1228
Joined: 11 May 2017 01:47
Location: California

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by spanick »

brblues wrote: 16 Jan 2020 20:47 I want to participate, but might have to drop out if some unexpected work comes my way.
Right on! There's of course no pressure. That's what's so fun about Speedlangs.

* * * * * *

I've updated the OP with the restraints for Speedlang IX. Have your submissions posted by 1200 PST. I hope you have fun! I'm eager to see the results.
User avatar
Sequor
sinic
sinic
Posts: 281
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by Sequor »

1200 PST? That's noon of Sunday the 19th in PST, right? So, I guess that's about 63 hours.

Final time in various timezones:
PST (Los Angeles): 12:00 p.m. (noon), Sunday 19
CST (Chicago, Dallas): 2:00 p.m., Sunday 19
EST (New York): 3:00 p.m., Sunday 19
GMT (London): 8:00 p.m., Sunday 19
CET (Berlin, Paris): 9:00 p.m., Sunday 19
JST (Tokyo): 5:00 a.m., Monday 20

EDIT: See below.
Last edited by Sequor on 17 Jan 2020 06:16, edited 1 time in total.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.
User avatar
spanick
roman
roman
Posts: 1228
Joined: 11 May 2017 01:47
Location: California

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by spanick »

Ser wrote: 17 Jan 2020 06:00 1200 PST? That's noon of Sunday the 19th in PST, right? So, I guess that's about 63 hours.

Final time in various timezones:
PST (Los Angeles): 12:00 p.m. (noon), Sunday 19
CST (Chicago, Dallas): 2:00 p.m., Sunday 19
EST (New York): 3:00 p.m., Sunday 19
GMT (London): 8:00 p.m., Sunday 19
CET (Berlin, Paris): 9:00 p.m., Sunday 19
JST (Tokyo): 5:00 a.m., Monday 20
Sorry, I meant midnight (0000) PST the night of Sunday 19/Monday 20.
User avatar
Sequor
sinic
sinic
Posts: 281
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by Sequor »

spanick wrote: 17 Jan 2020 06:02Sorry, I meant midnight (0000) PST the night of Sunday 19/Monday 20.
Ah, okay, so:

PST (Los Angeles): 12:00 a.m. (midnight), Monday 20
CST (Chicago, Dallas): 2:00 a.m., Monday 20
EST (New York): 3:00 a.m., Monday 20
GMT (London): 8:00 a.m., Monday 20
CET (Berlin, Paris): 9:00 a.m., Monday 20
JST (Tokyo): 5:00 p.m., Monday 20
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.
brblues
sinic
sinic
Posts: 221
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 15:34

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by brblues »

Cool, I like those constraints. I did receive some work that kept me busy most of yesterday, but started a sketch. What is it we actually send in -a grammar?
User avatar
spanick
roman
roman
Posts: 1228
Joined: 11 May 2017 01:47
Location: California

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by spanick »

brblues wrote: 18 Jan 2020 18:23 Cool, I like those constraints. I did receive some work that kept me busy most of yesterday, but started a sketch. What is it we actually send in -a grammar?
Yeah, just share as much as you have. Phonology, grammar, examples, etc. All particularly geared towards demonstrating how you went about dealing with the restraints.
User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1594
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by gestaltist »

Hsaa Mote
Spoiler:
I'm sharing what I have so far. Sorry for the messy format but I feared I wouldn't find the time to post it at all otherwise.
Hsaa Mote is an isolating language with minimal morphology, spoken as a trade language on a tropical archipelago. It's canonical sentence structure is OVS - with a twist.
It's call to phonological fame are its fricative+consonant onsets and its labial-velar consonants.

Phonology
The maximal syllable shape is SCVVC, where the final consonant is never a glide (which historically either mutated the vowels or became -v -x, respectively).
Only the word-final syllable can be closed, and only the word-initial syllable can lack an onset.
Stress always falls on the penultimate mora, i.e.:
* stress is penultimate if the final syllable is open and short
* stress is also penultimate if the final syllable ends with a stop
* otherwise, a final closed syllable or long vowel bears the stress.
It is worth noting that SC onsets are an effect of historical vowel lenition after fricatives. Exact conditions for that lenition are poorly understood but they seem to have included shortening of long vowels and deletion of short ones. Because of that, long vowels are rare after a fricative (although still possible, as the name of the language shows.)

Phonemic inventory
Vowels:
Short vowels: <a e i o>
Long vowels: <aa ee ii oo>
Diphthongs: <ia ie ao>
Consonants:
Voiceless stops: kp p t tx (tʃ) k
Voiced stops: gb b d j (dʒ)
Nasals: ngm (ŋm) m n ng (ŋ)
Voiceless fricatives: s ł (ɬ) x (ʃ) h
Voiced fricatives: v
Liquids: r l
Glides: w y (j)

In consonant mutations, <j> patterns with <ng>.
In addition, <ng> becomes <n> after a fricative.

Rules of vowel ablaut
In the ergative case, one of the vowels usually undergoes w-ablaut. It is synchronically unpredictable which vowel that will be.
The ablaut of the vowels is as follows:
* a-w -> o
* e-w -> *ø -> e next to a labial and o otherwise
* i-w -> *y -> i next to a labial and o otherwise
* o-w -> oo
Additionally:
* a final vowel never undergoes ablaut
* words with onset clusters often don't exhibit vowel ablaut due to the vowel having been deleted; however, a historical long oo usually didn't undergo full deletion but shortening, leading to a **Ø-o correspondence**
* *tahsa* "boat" -> *tahosa*
* only short vowels can undergo ablaut

Rules of consonant mutation
In the ergative case, a final consonant usually undergoes mutation according to the following rules:
* a voiced stop becomes a nasal (*kaad* "man" -> *kaan*)
* a nasal becomes a glide or liquid (*tien* "girl" -> *tiel*)
* /v/ elides (*kassev* "house" -> *koosse*)
* other final consonants remain unchanged (*joos* "water" -> *joos*)

Another productive and common consonant mutation verbalizes nouns. It fortites the initial consonant of a noun as follows:
* voiceless stops and fricatives remain unaffected
* a voiced stop gains an initial **a-** (*joos* "water" -> *ajoos* "to flow")
* a nasal becomes a voiced stop (*mote* "language" -> *bote* "to speak")
* glides and liquids become fricatives (*wakpa* "boat" -> *vakpa* "to go by boat, to sail")
* voiced fricative v becomes r (*voto* "pole" -> *roto* "to impale, to skewer")
* this fortition is lost in reduplicants of finite verbs

Syntax
Hsaa Mote has a rather strict OVS word order, and Ergative-Absolutive alignment.

It uses verb serialization for a lot of functions, with the verb chain looking like this:
[finite verb] (ABS-object) V1 (ABS-object) V2 ... ERG-subject.

Intransitive verbs, if forming an independent clause, usually take the form:
[finite verb] ABS-subject V1. However, they easily participate in verb chains, with the understanding that they don’t refer to the ergative subject.

Each transitive verb in a verb series has to co-refer the subject. If a previous object takes over as subject in the next verb chain, an anaphoric definite article is used to refer to it:
ITER 2s.ABS address threat say man\ERG, PERF DEF.SG.R man.ABS kill 1s.ERG = "I killed the man who threatened you."
Spoiler:
I might add the actual sentence later if I find the time.
Nouns
Hsaa Mote nouns have two cases: Absolutive and Ergative/Genitive. (Only personal pronouns have separate Genitive/Possessive forms.) The Ergative is formed from the Absolutive by ablaut which affects one of the vowels, e.g.:
ABS mote -> ERG moote (language)
Both cases are often equal in short nouns with SC onsets, since the ablauted vowel got elided:
ABS hsaa -> ERG hsaa (father)
In consonant-final nouns, the final consonant is also ablauted:
ABS tien -> ERG tiel (girl)

To refer to an already mentioned nominal argument, a definite article is used, conjugated for gender (rational-nonrational) and number (singular-dual-plural).

A set of common nouns has irregular plural forms stemming from earlier full reduplication but obscured by sound change. In many cases, these plurals became separate nouns with a collective meaning. Most nouns, however, don't obligatorily mark for plural. Number is usually expressed with stative verbs such as "to be numerous".
(Since stative verbs take an absolutive subject, stating plurality of an ergative subject may require coreference but doesn't necessarily require a separate finite verb:
PFV man be.numerous wall climb DEF.RAT.PL man\ERG (The men climbed the wall.)

Other than plurality, there are two other historical reduplication processes which are no longer productive but are a source of many modern nouns:
* partial reduplication ~s(V)CVC(V) used for diminutives: e.g. tien -> tiensen (little girl, baby girl)
* partial prefixing reduplication CV~... - adds intensity or augments: mote -> momote (speech, saga, important words)

The Ergative doubles as a Genitive in the inalienable possessive construction:
ERG ABS = ERG's ABS This can be seen in the name of the language:
hsaa mote (father\ERG language.ABS = "father's language" = "mother tongue")

Alienable possession is expressed with a verb (e.g., IMP daughter to.have John\ERG, PERF her see I\ERG = "I saw John's daughter.")

Verbs
Only a closed group of finite verbs inflect for aspect. Most verbs only have one form. There is no agreement marking on verbs.
Modal marking is usually achieved by the semantics of the selected finite verb.
Tense can only be marked adverbially.
Most finite verbs can be described as light.

Finite verbs conjugate for the following aspects (showcased by the verb *bote*, originally meaning "to speak", and now introducing related speech):
* perfective PRF - uses the bare stem; *bote*
* progressive PROG - historically formed by CV~ reduplication; *bomote*
* iterative ITER ("again and again") - diachronically formed by full reduplication of the stem; also covers frequentative ("run around", "sparkle"); *botemote*
* stative STAT (covering also gnomic) ("I know Hsaa Mote" - continuous but not progressing) - formed by prefix ya- from the perfective form *yabote*
* inchoative INCH - formed by suffix -hse from the progressive form *bomotehse*
* cessative CES - formed by suffix -hse from the perfective form *botehse*
* * habitual HAB - formed by suffix -hse from iterative form *botemotehse*

Voice:
* Passive voice is built by adding the verb “yete” (get, arrive) after the passivized verb. Cf.:
* tii tien vtoo bao = I spoke to the girl.
* tii vtoo yete bao = I was spoken to.
* tii vtoo yete tiel, tii xee (tien) vtoo bao = I spoke to the girl who was spoken to.
* Interrogative voice uses the fossilized expression **(baa) agbiye** “(I) listen/ask” at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.
* Imperative voice omits the subject and the initial auxilliary verb:
* tien vtoo! ("Speak to the girl") -> an absolutive object is not omitted
* agbiye! ("Ask, inquire!") -> an absolutive subject is omitted
* Hsaa Mote doesn't have a real middle voice. To express reflexives/autobenefactives, first and second person uses the respective pronouns as both the subject and the object:
* titi baa ngore bao = "I shout at myself again and again." (I.e.: I keep reproaching myself.)
* in third person, the noun *ngme* is used as the ergative subject: titihse xee kaad vtoo ngme = That man (habitually) talks to himself.
* There is no antipassive construction, and the absolutive object cannot be dropped freely. Pronouns "something" (**iiłto**) and "someone" (**iingme** or **ikaad**) are typically used as objects in such situations.

Adverbial expressions
Adverbial expressions are often built with a noun and a verb such as **hako** ("to use"):
*mote hako* = "speaking" (lit. "using speech")
Adverbs, as well as impersonal expressions, can utilize the *existential copula* **ia**, it's past equivalent **doya**, and it's future equivalent **htiya**
* *yawo ia* = "today" (lit. "it is today")
* *yawo doya* = "yesterday" (lit. "the day was previous")

Adjectives
Adjectives are verb-like in their behavior. Comparatives were historically formed with full reduplication which is fossilized on some common adjectives. Modern language uses the intensifying verb **ajaat** "to be true, real" (coat be.red be.true = the coat is very red/the reddest || coat be.red hat be.true = the hat is redder than the coat)


Pronouns and determiners
Pronouns and determiners generally conjugate for gender (rational-other), person and number (singular-dual-plural).

Definite articles:
DEF.SG.R - xee
(didn't have time to work out the other morphemes)

Personal Pronouns

ABS ERG GEN
1s - baa bao batee
2s - jo joo jotee
(didn't have the time to work out the other pronouns)

Lexicon
*ii* - one (1)

*tahsa* - boat (ERG *tahosa*)
*kaad* - man (ERG *kaan*) -> *ikaad* "someone" (usually a human male)
*kankaad* - group of people, team (ERG *konkaan*)
*tien* - girl (ERG *tiel*)
*kassev* - house (ERG *koosse*)
*joos* - water (ERG *joos*)
*josnoos* - sea (ERG *
*mote* - speech, language (ERG *moote*)
*hsaa* - father (ERG *hsaa*)
*tiensen* - younger sister, little girl (ERG *tiensel*)
*momote* - important words, saga, hymn (ERG *momoote*)
*ngore* - threat, aggression (ERG *ngoore*)
*gbiya* - ear, gill
*ngme* - self, identity (ERG *ngme*) -> *iingme* "someone" (any rational being)
*łto* - thing (ERG *łoto*) -> *iiłto* "something"
*yawo* - day, today (ERG *yowo*)
*jaat* - truth, reality (ERG *jaat*)

*ajoos* "to flow"
*vakpa* "to go by boat, to sail"
*roto* "to impale, to skewer"
*yete* "to arrive, to come, to get"
*xkayo* "to travel to, to target something"
*vtoo* "speak to someone, address someone"
*ngore* "shout at, threaten, reproach"
*agbiya* "listen, inquire, ask"
*hako* "use, employ"
*ia* "to be" - existential copula; it is intransitive and forms impersonal expressions of the type "it is X" and "there is X"
*doya* "to be past, to be over, previous" - existential copula used for past things
*htiya* "to be expected, future, next" - existential copula used for future things
*ajaat* "be true, real" - also used to form comparativees

*bote* "to speak", REL (introduces related speech as a finite verb) -mote
*tii* "to do", and *rao* "to act" - they suppletively (and somewhat irregularly) form the neutral auxiliary AUX to convey modal distinctions:
* PFV *tii*
* PROG *ravao*
* ITER *titi*
* STAT *yati*
* INCH *ravaohse*
* CES *raohse*
* HAB *titihse*

Translations
"The girl sailed to the man's house."
PFV girl sail man\ERG house arrive DEF.SG.R girl\ERG
tii tien vakpa kaan kassev yete xee tiel
"Did girl sail man's house arrive the girl".

"Reportedly, the girl set sail to the man's house."
REL.INCH girl sail man\ERG house target DEF.SG.R girl\ERG
bomotehse tien vakpa kaan kassev xkayo xee tiel
brblues
sinic
sinic
Posts: 221
Joined: 03 Aug 2018 15:34

Re: Speedlang IX (Jan 17-19)

Post by brblues »

Fairly incomplete, but I do like at least some of what I did, so will keep working on this language - so there may still be revisions! As I said, there's a bazillion topics I haven't touched on at all.

Phonology


Image

Orthography


/m/ <m> /n/ <n>
/p/ <b> /ph/ <p> /β/ <ḃ> /c/ <c> /ʝ/ <ċ> /k/ <g> /kh/ <k> /ɣ/ <ġ>
/l/ <l> /ʎ/ <ŀ>
/j/ <y> /w/ <w>
/ʙ/ <ṟ> ʀ <r>
/i/ <i>
/e/ <e> /ẽ/ <ĩ> /o/ <o> /õ/ <õ>
/ɛ̃/ <ẽ> /ɔ̃/ <õ>
/ɑ/ <a> ɑ̃ <ã>

NB: Due to time constraints, I have only used phonemic IPA transcription and no romanisation throughout this sketch!


Consonants

Inventory
Besides the unusual trill inventory (comprising /ʙ/ and /ʀ/), the phonology of BRB is characterised by a three-way distinction on the stop series: there is a contrast between aspirated and aspirated stops, and each of these has one voiced counterpart, where, however, the mode of articulation is changed from plosive to fricative, as in e.g. the bilabial triplet /p pʰ β/, romanised as <b p ḃ>. The stops also include the extremely rare phoneme /c/ - there is no aspirated counterpart, with only the voiced fricative /ʝ/ included in this palatal series.

Allophonies
[c,ʝ] > [ɕ,ʑ] before front vowels
[k,ɣ] > [q,ʁ] before back vowels

Phonotactics
The general syllable shape is C(C)V(C), where the second consonant in the onset must be a semivowel and the coda consonant must not be a fricative.

Vowels
Allophonies
[o,ɑ] > [u,a] in open syllables
[ɑ] > [ɒ] after labial consonants

Phonological processes with regards to vowels

While there is nothing too unusual about the vowel inventory, vowels may undergo two different phonological processes which play a crucial role in the morphology of the language – nasalisation and vowel raising:
Image

Grammar

Syntax
The default word order is VOS; this can change to VSO to put the subject in focus/make it definite.


Pronouns


1SG ʎõ
2SG ci
3SG =CLF
1PL ʎõʎõ
2PL cic
3PL =CLF

“Intense pronouns”
There exist a number of so-called “intense” 1st and 2nd person pronouns, which are derived from nouns (mostly animal names) and can be used indicate the relationship between speaker and addressee; the conjugation in all of these cases uses the standard set of pronouns.

1SG /poctho/ “mule” deferential, polite, also used to form apologies
1SG /ʙɑpʰe/ “worm” submissive
1SG /mjik/ “dragon” higher up, demanding, joking
1SG /ɣwe/ “catfish” positive, energetic, rousing
1SG /nwipʰlɑl/ “buffalo” calm, subdued
2SG /poʎʀikʰ/ “master” submissive
2SG /wo/ “bear” endearment, also used to form apologies as well as – if the verb is in irrealis - imperative
2SG /mɑtʎɛ̃/ “demon” insulting or – if the verb is in irrealis – very harsh imperative
2PL /ʙɑʙɑpʰe/ “worms” insulting or – if the verb is in irrealis – very harsh imperative
2PL /popoʎʀikʰ/ “masters” submissive as well as – if the verb is in irrealis – submissive imperative, in which case it can also be used for single addressees

phi-c ʎõ popoʎʀikʰ
see-2SG 1SG “masters”
“Come meet me, pretty please!”

Verbs

BRB sentences always start with a verb, and the verb is marked for the subject of the sentence. This marking derives from the suffixation of pronouns (identical to the classifiers) to the verb, and this is mostly still fully recognisable; exceptions include the 3rd person human conjugation, which nasalises the last vowel of the verb stem (according to the rules in the “Nasalisation” table) , and the 3rd person location/event conjugation, in which the last vowel is raised (according to the rules in the “Vowel raising” table).

Here’s an example conjugation of /pikhɑ/ = speak (root)

1SG /pikhɑ-ʎõ/
2SG /pikhɑ-c/
3SG human /pikh-ɑ̃/ [nasalisation, cf. Nasalisation table]
3SG animal /pikhɑ-ʙikʰne/
3SG plant /pikh-ɑ̃-to/
3SG mass /pikhɑ-p/
3SG object /pikhɑ-pokʰ/
3SG long /pikhɑ-ʎɑ̃l/
3SG LOC,event /pikh-o/ [raising, cf. construct state table]
3SG LOC,time pikhɑ-nwec
1PL /pikhɑ-ʎõʎõ/
2PL /pikhɑ-cic/
3PL =3SG, plus /kɛ̃kɛ̃/ as subject (often omitted)


Remote past
Verbs are usually not marked for tense, especially if there is an adverbial point of reference; there is a so called “remote past” used for events far in the past (especially historical/mythical ones), which can also be used as “past perfect” to indicate that something happened before the frame of reference. It is formed using “ʝẽ” (to go) as an auxiliary. Person is marked not only on the auxiliary, but also the lexical verb.

ʝẽ tenmi pwo ʀitʰβɑ̃t mjɑ̃t ʝẽ t-ɔ̃-kʰ poʎn-e-n
go.3SG.HUMAN yesterday to store because PST.AUX.HUMAN need-HUMAN-need tool-CONST-tool
“S/he went to the store because she had needed (a) new tool(s) (implied: for quite a while).


Irrealis mood
The only TAM marking that happens on lexical verbs is the marking of mood, with a simple two-way distinction between realis and irrealis. Irrealis is formed by raising the first vowel of the verb.

The irrealis mood is mainly used in the following cases:

a) If the speaker does not want to assert the truth of a statement; to clarify that this is the intended use, the adverbs /tʰopikʰɑp/ (“it is said”; evidential marker for hearsay) or /ʝotʎõje/, /ʝotje/ or /ʎõje/ (“methinks”; evidential marker for one’s own supposition); time adverbs (past or present) are also an indication. These markers are not mandatory.

ʝ-e-thk-ẽ pɑt pwo ʀitʰβɑ̃t ʎõje John
go-IRR-go-HUMAN now to store EVID.HEARSAY John
“I’ve heard/I hear John is going to the store just now.”

b) As imperative, in the second person conjugation, often with an “intense” pronoun:

m-ẽ-t-c (pwo) ʎõ (je) pɛ̃tw-e-c wethɛ̃ wo
give-IRR-give-2SG (to.PREP) 1SG (ACC.PREP) toy-CONST-toy new 2SG.INT
“Give me a new toy!”

c) As future tense, in particular with time adverbs, such as e.g. the general “in future” adverb /mimi/.

pjɛ̃ke-ʙikʰne ci mimi mjik
eat-ANIMAL 2SG FUT dragon
“The dragon will eat you!”

Without the use of the future marker, this would more likely be interpreted as “… might eat you.”

d) For questions, in connection with intonation:

cõtle-cic ʙikʰne ʀɛ̃k nwipʰl-o-l ɣeʙ
see-2PL CLF.ANIMAL two buffalo-CONST-buffalo small
“Do youse see the two little buffalos?”


e) In negated sentences – the negative prefix /nwe/ is added to the verb, and it is followed by /ɣeʙ/, either directly after the verb, or before a specific word to indicate the scope of the negation.

nwi-ʝ-e-thki-ʎõ ɣeʙ we
NEG-eat-IRR-eat-1SG NEG fish

"I don't eat fish."

Classifiers

The classifiers from the following table are used as measure words with numbers, definite articles and 3SG pronouns.

human /ni/
animal /ʙikʰne/
plant /to/
liquids, mass nouns measured in containers, boats /po/ [pu]
object, general /pokʰ/
long object /ʎɑ̃l/
location, natural / event, natural phenomenon /ijo/
location, manmade / period of time /nwec/


phi-ʎõʎõ mot to kʰõdim ʎõʎõ
see-1PL three CLF.PLANT flowers 1PL
“Well, we can see three flowers!”

Nouns

Construct state


The construct state is used to indicate “possessees” (only in the case of alienable possession!) and for nouns followed by an attributive adjective; it is formed by raising the last vowel of the word (see “Vowel raising” table).

ʝothki-ʙikʰne tw-ẽ ʀɑl tan wo
eat-ANIMAL food-CONSTR bad PST bear
“The bear ate something bad.”

Alienable possession

In the case of alienable possession, the “possessee” is marked in the construct state (formed by raising the last vowel of the word according to the “Vowel raising” table), and then followed by the possessor.

pʰ-ẽ ʙɑtʰ-i ʎõ ʝicmɑwɛ̃
see-3SG.HUMAN house-CONSTR 1SG policeman
“The/a policeman sees my house.”

There is also a verb /kje/ (“to hold/have”) that can only be used for alienable possession. Please note that this is a simple transitive verb, and so the construct state is not used!

kje-ʎõ ʙɑtʰ-i
have-1SG house-CONSTR
“I have/own a house.”

In the following example, it may seem the construct state is used in spite of the above rule – this is, however, due to the fact that the noun is followed by an attributive adjective, which also calls for the construct state.

kje-ʎõ ʙɑtʰ-i βepʰ
have-1SG house-CONSTR big
“I have a big house”

Measures words are used with numbers:

kje-ʎõ ʀɛ̃k nwec ʙɑtʰ-i βepʰ
have-1SG two CLF house-CONSTR big
“I have two big houses.”

Changing the default VOS order to VSO, marking the accusative object by the preposition /je/, puts the subject in strong focus and/or makes it definite:

pʰ-ẽ ʝicmɑwɛ̃ je ʙɑtʰ-i ʎõ
see-3SG.MASC policeman ACC.PREP house-CONSTR 1SG
“It is the policeman who sees my house”.

Another construction:

tʰjil-nwec ʙɑtʰ-i ʎõ nw-e-c βepʰ
COP-3SG.LOC house-CONSTR 1SG CLF-CONSTR-CLF big
“My house is big.” (= “Is house mine a big place.”)

Inalienable possession

Constructions are slightly different for inalienable possession; firstly, inalienable “possessees” do not use the construct state to indicate possession, and secondly, the verb /kje/ (“to have”) cannot be used with them.

tʰjil-ʎɑ̃l βiʝɑ ci ʎ-ɛ̃-l βepʰ
COP-3SG.OBJ arm 2SG CLF-CONSTR-CLF big
“Your arm is big.” or “You have a big arm.” (= Is arm yours a big one (object)”.

Thirdly, no classifier is used as counter word in these constructions:

tʰjil-ʎɑ̃l ʀɛ̃k βiʝɑ ʎõ
COP-3SG.OBJ two arm 1SG
“I have two arms”.

Adjectives


Adjectives are compared using the verb /ʝukh/ “to beat somebody in something”; the adjective is prefixed to this verb.

βepʰ-ʝukh-ʎɑ̃l pil je tjothʝe
big-beat-3SG.LONG rope ACC.PREP snake
“That rope is bigger than a snake!”

The deviation from the default VOS word order (with the preposition /je/ marking ACC inserted for clarity) puts the focus on the rope.
“Less-than” comparisons are formed by using the negative form of the same verb, /nwiʝukh/, then prefixing the adjective.

βepʰ-nwi-ʝukh-ʎɑ̃l ɣeʙ tjothʝe ʎɑ̃l pil
big-beat-NEG-3SG.LONG NEG snake CLF rope
“That rope is smaller than a snake.”

Here, “rope” is made definite by using a classifier as the definite article.

The superlative is formed similarly, but the negative marker is reduplicated, and no object for comparison is mentioned.

βwɑllɑ-nwi-ʝukh-pokʰ ɣeʙɣeʙ pɛ̃twoc
good-beat-NEG-3SG.OBJECT NEG.REDUP toy
“That toy is best.”

Lexicon

ʙɑpʰe worm
ʙɑtʰe house
cɔ̃tle to know
ɣeʙ small
ɣwe catfish
jɔ̃ past (adjective and noun)
je ACC preposition
ʝẽ 1. to go 2. AUX for remote past
ʝicmɑwɛ̃ policeman
ʝot to think
ʝothki to eat
ʝotje possibly, “methinks” (own’s own opinion)
ʝotʎõje possibly, “methinks” (own’s own opinion)
ʝukh to beat somebody in something, also used in comparison
kɛ̃ one
kɛ̃kɛ̃ some
kʰõdim flower
kje to have (inalienable)
mɑtʎɛ̃ demon
mɛ̃tʙi to take
mi day
mijo today
mimi FUT adverb
mjɑ̃t because
mjik dragon
mot three
nwek although
nwi NEG prefix
nwik although
nwik to fight
nwipʰlɑl buffalo
nwipʰlɑl buffalo
pɑt now
pɛ̃ old
pɛ̃twoc toy
pʰi to see, meet
pikhɑ to speak
pil rope
pjɛ̃ke to eat

poctho mule
poʎnon tool
poʎʀikʰ master
pwo to, towards (preposition)
ʀɑl bad
ʀitʰβɑ̃t store
ten before (preposition)
tenmi yesterday
tʰɑ person
tjothʝe snake
tokʰ to need
twõ food
we fish
wethɛ̃ new
wo bear
ʎõje possibly, “methinks” (own’s own opinion)
βepʰ big
βiʝɑ foot, leg
βwɑllɑ good
Post Reply